Is Diet Soda Healthy? The Best Secrets Exposed
Diet soda secrets ... exposed.
Recently, we went on a long road trip to visit friends.
During our return down a lonely stretch of highway, we stopped at a fast food restaurant.
...this isn’t something we do.
But it was easy enough to fashion a salad wrap out of ingredients on the menu. Also, there were a few passable options for kids.
Finally, it’s time to add a drink.
...which I’m wary of in areas I’m not familiar with.
The fountain features several kinds of soft drinks, including lemonade, and two diet options.
I choose the tap water.
However, as we sit there...
...I notice the diet soda is seeing a lot of traffic from other patrons.
People mull over the non-diet options, and apparently decide that their best choice is to go diet.
After all, you don’t want to pile more calories on top of a fast food meal, right?
So today, I’m going to share the best diet soda secrets and exactly why diet soda is not healthy.
In fact, it is in some ways more harmful than plain soda.
But Wait... Hasn’t Diet Soda Changed?
Some diet sodas don’t even say “diet” on them anymore.
I’ll explain with an example:
You may hear this is because soft drink companies want to include men in their marketing.
...men don’t like the word “diet”.
This is an example of what they call gender contamination.
That’s certainly one reason.
But another is that since the 1980s heyday of diet soda, it has gotten some really damaging press.
Why artificial sweeteners?
At one time, animal studies seemed to present a link between aspartame and cancer risk. The trouble is, we cannot rely on that.
Simply put, conflicting studies muddy the waters once more.
Nutritional science has a real problem with conflict of interest.
When companies have money, they can fund massive studies that report exactly what they want them to.
Now, I don’t mean to sound conspiratorial.
In the end, this is just the way things are.
Scientists urge us to consider the source. Furthermore, we can keep a watchful eye for consistencies which can form a kind of consensus.
...suspect chain emails warned readers that aspartame causes multiple sclerosis.
This has never been proven, or even convincingly suggested. Hence, many want to ignore smears against artificial sweeteners.
But to be absolutely clear, diet soda has not changed one iota since it was fashionable to drink decades ago.
It still contains synthetic sugar. And while we cannot specifically state that it causes cancer or multiple sclerosis, it is very, very bad for you.
There are a whole lot of studies to suggest this, and we’ll cover some of those today.
So stay with me.
Any shift in perception you have about diet soda is purely in the branding.
Anyhoo, on to bid’niz:
Ten Reasons You Should NEVER Drink Diet Soda
I understand and appreciate healthy skepticism surrounding the hype against artificial sweeteners.
But what I’ve discovered is that there are many reasons to avoid diet soda.
Conversely, I have yet to find any reason at all to regularly drink it.
Here are ten secrets about diet soda you may have never known.
1. It Makes You Gain Weight
If nothing else, you should avoid diet soda because it does not do what it suggests.
It is not part of a healthy diet, and it is not a beverage that will help you lose weight.
In fact, it even affects babies born to mothers who drink it during pregnancy.
One study finds that those infants are more likely to be overweight after they’re born.
This is crazy:
But studies suggest that it impacts weight prenatally.
You can see that artificial sweeteners have an adverse impact on our weight at every stage of life.
In older adults, it is linked to larger waist circumference (abdominal fat).
No matter your age, or how slim you’ve been, drinking diet soda for a while will change that.
It’s possible that it will contribute to an increase in fat even if you don’t consume excess calories.
2. It May Compromise Bone Density
Actually, this may apply to all soda, not just diet.
Bacteria have a favorite food, and that food is sugar - all kinds.
To prevent bacteria from invading their fizzy drinks, manufacturers add phosphoric acid. This also contributes to the flavor and acidity.
This study finds that colas, including diet, reduce bone mineral density. Their density was 3.7 to 5.4% lower than those who rarely drank any cola.
Some say that phosphoric acid is also a contributor to osteoporosis.
On the other hand, there are those who say it’s the caffeine.
The study referenced above found that those who drank decaffeinated soda had a lower reduction in mineral bone density.
Still, there was a reduction all the same. Therefore, I’m inclined to think it’s a combination of both until I learn otherwise.
Researchers and critics also suggest that density is impacted because these unhealthy drinks are taking the place of healthy ones.
The trouble is, many suggest that a healthy, calcium-rich replacement would be dairy milk.
The best things for bones would be exercise, sunshine (vitamin D), and whole foods diet full of leafy greens.
3. It Makes You Sad?
This one caught me off guard, but it’s been around for more than 20 years. Diet soda can apparently put a damper on your mood.
While this study suggests that people who are prone to depression should not drink aspartame.
Another study doesn’t clarify the subjects’ mental health history, but indicates the same. Patients who ingested aspartame were more irritable and depressed.
The problem many have with such studies is that it doesn’t clarify why this is.
One proffered explanation is that aspartame lowers serotonin levels. It is also suggested that it interferes with neural activity.
Frankly, more study is necessary here.
4. It Isn’t Good for Your Gut
In fact, some of the other negative side effects of drinking too much diet soda may come from this assertion.
As you know, a lot of health situations originate in the gut.
You also know that sugar is a bacteria food, right?
Well, artificial sweeteners can be three or four times sweeter than sugar.
The bacteria can’t resist!
But not all gut bacteria are beneficial.
Indeed, that’s why we take probiotics - to introduce bacteria we know are healthy and good for us.
Unfortunately, the bacteria that love artificial sweeteners are most prevalent in the guts of obese individuals.
5. It Rots Your Teeth
Understandably, some believe that if it’s not real sugar, it’s not as bad for your teeth.
However, diet sodas are in fact really damaging.
Do you think you can save your smile by going sugar-free?
In the case of diet soda, the drink tastes the way it does due to some chemical trickery.
Because it lacks sugar and uses an artificial substitute, they add extra acids.
Extra phosphoric acid, citric acid, or tartaric acid. Yes, ‘tartaric’, just like ‘tartar’. An Australian study reports that diet or not, acid in soda damages the enamel.
Additionally, it seems that people who drink diet soda consume more than people who go for regular soda.
For this reason, some dentists say that moderate consumption of regular soda is actually better than heavy consumption of diet soda.
6. It’s Bad for Your Heart
Admittedly, this could be a reach.
But at least a study has shown that daily diet soda drinkers are more likely to have a cardiac event.
The key here is ‘daily’.
People who drink regular soda, or just have an occasional diet soda, don’t seem to carry the same risk.
...this becomes less difficult for me to believe when we consider that diet soda is associated with excess weight.
Being over weight or obese inarguably raises your risk of having high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
7. It’s Hard on Your Kidneys
More than three thousand nurses took part in this study.
The results conclude that drinking two or more diet sodas per day leads to a 30% reduction in kidney function.
Again, the kicker here is that this type of complication occurs when you drink more than one diet soda.
Many people who drink diet describe themselves as “addicted”, which means they’re likely drinking a potentially dangerous amount.
In the end, artificial sweeteners play tricks on your brain.
As it meddles with our mainframe, this ends up impacting many other organs.
8. It Helps Cause Type 2 Diabetes
Aside from weight gain, this may be the most important point we go over today.
Diet soda’s effect on gut microflora impacts our metabolism and the way we deal with glucose.
It’s thought to cause higher blood sugar when those bacteria proliferate.
High blood sugar is certainly a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, as is weight gain and waist circumference.
For me, the chilling part is that diet soda is actually recommended to people with diabetes. It’s supposed to be a safe, sugar-free alternative to soda.
Meanwhile, this study reports that diet soda drinkers increase their risk of type 2 diabetes nearly 70 percent.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Drink diet soda until you get diabetes, and then be sure to keep drinking it?
Frankly, this smells.
It gets better/worse:
I’ll be sure to share any further studies I come across on this in the future.
But stay with me.
9. It Adds Nothing to Your Body
Even some junk foods are fortified with things like vitamin D or B12.
While the foodstuffs may not be healthy, we can occasionally justify a little nibble for that fortification.
Not so with diet soda.
It is wholly nutritionally deficient.
Even some junk foods offer something in the way of fuel.
Sure, it has no calories.
It also has no fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, carbs, et cetera.
You get nothing but acid, chemical sweeteners, water, preservatives, and food coloring.
10. It Affects Our Water
Honestly... sometimes there seems to be little we do that doesn’t harm the environment.
Even our most benign practices have impacts we don’t anticipate as we make purchases, plan trips, and do chores.
As much as those artificial sweeteners aren’t good for the body, they’re also really not good for our environment.
A 2011 study examining 19 water treatment plants finds that sucralose is sneaking into our water supply.
You may ask, how?
Much like medications and birth control, some of the substance is eliminated, well... when we eliminate.
These sweeteners are surviving our bodies, traversing the sewers, and then surviving treatment at the plants.
So people (and plants) who don’t even touch diet soda may feel the impacts.
All in all, artificial sweeteners need to leave society.
They serve little to no purpose.
You can vote with your dollars by never purchasing things containing sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, or acesulfame.
Drink This Instead! Five Healthy, Refreshing Alternatives
I love water.
However, it wasn’t always that way.
I used to think it was bland, boring, unsatisfying.
In the spirit of servicing my readers who are uninspired by plain old H2O, here are five replacements for diet soda.
1. Sparkling Water
I’m actually pretty happy La Croix - click for price is such a big deal these days. Sparkling, fizzy water with natural fruit flavors is just the thing to kick your diet soda habit.
2. Iced Tea
Typically, cold tea is made with black tea and a ton of sugar.
I recommend chilling some fresh hibiscus tea, and adding some lime juice for more flavor.
It’s tangy, cleansing, and full of vitamin C. It can even lower your blood pressure.
3. Maple Water
So, you like a little sweetness.
Maple water - click for price tastes pleasant, contains nutrients, and is totally natural.
It’s like coconut water, but from a tree!
4. Infused Water
Step one - get an infuser pitcher - click for price.
Step two - fill the reservoir with herbs and fruits (I like strawberries and basil).
Step three - fill with fresh water. Step four - let it sit for a few hours. It’s water with a few healthy, all-natural accessories.
A little sweet, a little fizzy, and a lot tangy, kombucha will hit the spot.
Rich in minerals and probiotics, this does what no diet soda can - maintain gut health.
That is all I have today on...
Diet Soda Secrets
We’re well aware that soda isn’t healthy.
But diet soda may be even worse, thanks to the inclusion of extra acids and artificial sweeteners.
As usual, conflicting studies make the truth hard to find.
However, there’s evidence which suggest that drinking too much diet soda can:
I, for one, won’t ever touch the stuff.
But I’m interested in hearing what you think.
Do you have any secrets for kicking a diet soda addiction?
What’s your go-to drink when you’re on the road and options are limited?
What unexpected products have you found that contain aspartame?
Let me hear from you.
Leave a comment below letting me know, and I’ll be back soon.